Monday 12 October 2015


There was an interesting programme on Radio 4 tonight (Analysis) to which I was directed by my mother (thanks, mum, because otherwise I'd never have known.)

It was on the subject of land reform in Scotland, a draft bill for which is now in process in parliament.

If you're interested in land reform, it's worth listening to it.

I'm not going to comment on it and spoil it for you, but one thing had me jumping with anger adn I have to let it out!

Like so many unionist politicians, Michael Forsyth, John Major's man in Scotland in the mid 90s, now, needless to say, a member of the lords, insisted on calling Scotland a one-party state.

Is he unaware that there are elections for parliament in Scotland held under a partially proportional representation system which balances the inadequacies of first past the post. As constitutional matters are reserved to Westminster, this election process is conducted under the watchful eye of the Conservatives (a party which is in government on less than 30 of the vote over the UK and less than 14% in Scotland).
I bet he wishes he hadn't suggested the last one.

Mick, if you are reading this, the governing party, the SNP, constitutes 50% of parliament, in short 64 members. The rest is made up of Labour (38), Conservative (15), Liberal Democrat (5) and Green Party (2) members. There are 3 independents and a Presiding Officer who has no political affiliation.

Scottish Socialists and various other parties and groups can, and do, also field members for election. As far as I know there are no restrictions on who can stand for parliament, except those stated in this document. It's a  British government publication and the terms and conditions are relatively similar to those of London's parliament. (An exception being that  active members of the House of Lords can and do stand for the Scottish parliament. There are some sitting there at present, not least your own party's most excellent Lady Goldie.)

Voting is open to those over 16 on election day who are UK, Commonwealth or EU citizens living in Scotland (or on active service abroad) and registered to vote. Full details can be found here.

Recently your leader, Cameron, said that he hoped the Conservatives would win the Scottish election...hard to do in a one party state where the Conservative are not the one party.

By describing Scotland as a one party state, I assume that you mean that the same party has won the last two elections and has thus been in power, by the next election, for a total of 9 years, then I wonder how you would describe the governments of Mrs Thatcher and Mr Major which were in power for a total of 18 years.

Maybe you could enlighten us?

Oh, and if you lived in a one party state Michael, there would be no doubt about it. You'd most certainly know all about it.

Incidentally next week's Analysis programme is on the subject of the monarchy and its future. Will George ever be king? It should be interesting. 


  1. There are people who have genuine concerns that under the current system, the Scottish Government are not really being held to account properly in some areas. By that I mean committees, and at times they do appear to be scared to rock the boat. That is a real concern and has to be addressed, as we do not have a second chamber,

    But Forsyth is bitching about, seemingly to imply that we live in a dictatorship. That's bollocks. If we did live in such, then the referendum would have produced a result of 110% in favour (read up on some past dictatorships worldwide, that isn't such a far fetched figure!).

    The "one party state" he refers do had real limitations on it's power. It has a wide range of devolved powers, but some are reserved such as defence (and in my opinion rightly so, given the SNP's policy - nukes excepted - is poor). However, we do have control of the NHS up here thankfully.

    The reason we have a majority government, is erm, because it was voted for. No military coup up here (although there are a few nutters). Funnily enough, the same process was carried out in England, producing a "one party state" in the UK. And this state seems determined to screw the most vulnerable in the best traditions of a true dictatorship. They also want to effectively ban trade unions. Hitler banned trade unions as well. Look where that got him.

    Forsyth fails to grasp the point here. If the SNP attempted to have a one party state, the electorate would kick the living shit out them (politically of course).

    And to think that this Tory arse was a senior politician?


    1. As you point out, Zog, if people want to, they can vote Labour, or Green or even Tory at the next election and remove he SNP altogether.

      The reason that the SNP is in government is that people voted for them on a fairish system off voting.

      They system wasn't designed for a single party government. It was pretty much designed, by a Labour government, to ensure Labour and Liberal hegemony for all time.

      I suspect that no one foresaw that the Labour party in Scotland would be so pathetic, and that the Liberals would tie themselves to the Tories and disappear.

  2. Ah the old "one party state", I wonder what wag thought up that one?

    It was perfectly fine when SLabour, were the rulers of their own fiefdom in Scotland, having the majority of MPs and running (that should really be ruining) the most councils.

    As long as they went to Westminster and sat on their hands, while Westminster shat on Scotland; it was OK for Scotland to be a " one party state".

    It's democracy Micky, we know you'd prefer we all doft our caps, while tugging our forelocks, to our *ahem* betters, but in reality we do have universal suffrage. And we can do with our votes what we please, you and your ilk do not please us; therefore you do not get our vote.

    1. It's a poor argument when quite clearly it is untrue.

      But I suppose, like so many of their sort, he reckons if it is said over and over again, stupid people will accept that it is true.

      I mean we've seen acceptance of all kids of lies before. Not least that Britian is a democracy, which it is not.

  3. "The "one party state" he refers do had real limitations on it's power. It has a wide range of devolved powers, but some are reserved such as defence (and in my opinion rightly so, given the SNP's policy - nukes excepted - is poor)."

    Breathtaking! truly breathtaking
    The SNP's defence policy is poor?
    how in gods name can you possibly say that when The UK government takes 3billion from Scotland for "defence" but less than 1.8billion is ACTUALLY spent IN Scotland, we are subject to a government who in spite of the majority of people in Scotland who don't choose to harbour nuclear weapons does it anyway, has not one capital ship in Scotland leaving our coastline completely undefended and has to send an aging destroyer all the way from Portsmouth to "shepherd an entire Russian aircraft carrier assault group away from Scottish waters a government who vandalized the Nimrod submarine screen and has to beg for help from Canada and France for airborne surveillance of our northern seas,

    Prime minster John Major in spite of protests from all quarters including the MOD the secretary of state for defence bizarrely gives a contract to Devonport to maintain the nuclear submarine fleet in spite of the the fact it had no dry dock facilities which they had to build at a cost to the tax payer of 100million pounds when all told him Rosyth already had the facilities and the expertise to take on the task without any further cost to the taxpayer,
    but hey there were no votes for the Tories in Scotland.

    Reduces the Scottish regiments at a time when they want even more from a rump of regiments to attack other countries even when they have been explicitly told not to by parliament, but somehow the SNP defence policy is poor


    1. I really wish people would stop making the assumption that any criticism of the SNP means the poster is either (a) a unionist or (b) a Tory lover. I'm neither. I've previously stated that the Tories defence cuts are dangerous and ill-thought - much the same as they did during the 1990s - I was made redundant as a direct result of that policy under John Major.

      But the SNP's track record on defence is at times frankly bollocks. They were against NATO membership, only pushing it through because they damn well knew if they remained against NATO, they would have been slaughtered in the referendum. Remember the dissension when Angus Robertson announced the policy change during the conference?

      Nuclear weapons / bases. Quite rightly, the policy was not to renew Trident and have it removed from Faslane, Then one senior figure stated that Scotland would have one major army base, one air force base and one naval base - this would be Faslane. Then, when another senior figure was asked about the future of Roysth, they stated it would remain open. (In truth, we need both, as an independent Scotland would need both submarines and surface vessels).

      I have no doubt that under independence we would have effective armed forces, but the messages that have come from the SNP in the past have been anything but consistent.

      I never once in the post above said I supported the Tories defence policies. I never have. In truth, I don't trust ANY political party with defence, as it is the easy target for cuts, and politicians (with rare exceptions such as Keith Brown) nowadays have no idea how the forces work. Look at the last 100 years, and look at how the armed forces were decimated by the governments of the day.

      Why not examine SNP's policies? There are a lot of good ones, but also one or two that really need reviewed. Constructive criticism absolutely, but never blind allegiance.


    2. I'm not expert on defence, but I think that the Brit's idea of it is ridiculous. Apparently with the 4th largest military spend in the world, we have a shortage of everything, and whenever we interfere in anything abroad we make a mess of it.

      The bulk of the money of course is spent on something that will never be used. Corbyn was right to say he wouldn't use it... although I suspect that America would simply override him if push came to shove.

      The West is more than covered by the American nuclear deterrent, and Britian would be better served by having conventional forces that would actually be some use in teh event of having to defend themselves.

      of course if they stopped poking their nose into other people's affairs and go on with making sure that the hospitals were funded and that children could read and write, perhaps they wouldn't nee d huge military spend.

      Iceland has a couple of fishery protection boats. But then Icelanders have no ambitions to lay waste to entire middle eastern countries, and their hospitals can treat people and their children can read and write, not only in Icelandic but in Danish and English too.

    3. "I really wish people would stop making the assumption that any criticism of the SNP means the poster is either (a) a unionist or (b) a Tory lover. I'm neither."

      Then stop making the facile assumption that an independent Scotland would be left naked and defenseless by an SNP government, who's to say we wouldnt (Lord have mercy on our souls) have a Labour government?

      "I have no doubt that under independence we would have effective armed forces, but the messages that have come from the SNP in the past have been anything but consistent."

      The SNP harbours people of differing opinions, quelle surprise

      Now heres a thing
      you really don't have to dig very deep to find a chaotic defence policy from all sides who in the past fifty years have wasted a staggering sum of taxpayers money for absolutely no return

      The fact is Zog the only reason the unionists want to keep us (as if we didnt know) we're a convenient far enough away place to site their unmentionables so they don't spook the people who REALLY matter and of course the odd 3 billion to add to their little staff Christmas party funds (glug glug glug) always comes in handy,

      Please dont criticize the SNP policy (which they have not had the opportunity to prove adept at or otherwise) when the car crash that is the defence policy of the current and previous Westminster governments (which are a matter of public record) of all stripe have been a total shambles,
      If North Korea had the amount of money to spend on their military that the Westminster lot have wasted for absolutely no gain they would the most powerful country on Earth, so lets not get into a "SNP BAD"discussion when they haven't even left the starting blocks!

    4. "But the SNP's track record on defence is at times frankly bollocks. They were against NATO membership, only pushing it through because they damn well knew if they remained against NATO, they would have been slaughtered in the referendum."

      Your kidding right?
      tell me your kidding?
      your telling me that THE MOST important question on peoples minds on the doorsteps before the referendum was "whats the SNP policy on NATO membership
      delusional simply delusional!

  4. The present electoral system (d'Hohnt) was set up b y Labour withe connivance of the LibDems to ensure that there could never be an SNP majority. Labour would be permanently in power with the LibDems. The Tories who had no chance of forming a Gov in Scotland went along with it because it meant unionism was enshrined in Holyrood.

    The SNP in 2007 blew that out of the water and in 2011 blew it all over the beach in fragments.

    So, the system the gerrymandered into place to keep the SNP permanently shut out is no longer valid for that point. Cue bleating and greeting about it being unfair to them. They want to change the rules.

    Forsythe was the Tory model for Jim Murphy. Jonah.

    1. In fact of course, the way of electing the Scottish government is in the hands of the English government.

      London controls elections and the constitution. THEY, not we, had to change the voting age to 16. If they want to find another way of electing the government which will reduce the SNP vote, it is in their hands.

      The alternative is for them to find people in their own parties that folk might want to vote for.

  5. Why does Scotland think it is in a One Party State in Westmister. Red or Blue Pill, it is the same neocon capitalism

  6. Aha ... the old "one party state" line from an old ... decrepit ... Tory has been!

    What he really means of course is that the Scottish government is run properly and for the GOOD of the Scottish people ans NOT for the benefit of the Labour/Lib Dem or Tory M.S.P.'s. More importantly the current Scottish government has the whatsit to stand up to burnt out Forsyth's leader, Hambone, and tell him, and Forsyth for that matter, to feck off as and when they try anything funny, which is almost on a daily basis at present.

    Forsyth does not like being told to feck off.

    1. Pity. In his life he's probably heard it often enough...

  7. Strange how Democracy upsets some people, that a majority votes for a party which isn't the one the Establishment favours and somehow it is a one party state. Now all the one Party States in the world like China hold elections and you can vote for which ever member supplied by the Party, Scotland isn't China. We have been a democracy if you like since the Church of Scotland was formed and members voted for the Moderator, unlike our neighbours to the south who prefer, preferment.
    Michael Forsyth is like all the Tories, Blue Red or Yellow, sees what he wants you to see.
    Zog, if the SNP Government is badly served it is by those who are supposed to be in opposition, they should be arguing case by case for improvement. Alex Salmond said and I will quote but not word for word when he took retained the Government in 2011 that the SNP did not have all the wisdom and would seek help, well Labour/Lib Dems/Tories have carped ever since, have they done their job, not bleeding likely.

    1. The poor quality of the opposition MSP (by and large) and their total inability to put forward policies that might attract the Scottish voter, has rendered them a bunch of moaning whinging minnies. All they seem to do is say SNP BAD.

    2. I agree fully with your comments that they need to be constructive in their opposition. Successful governments work better with effective opposition. I don't give a damn if Forsyth thinks we are badly served - we're not. There are areas which could be improved - but all governments have problems.

      If the opposition would try and and reorganise themselves, and treat the voters with respect, then they might start winning seats back. Their primary focus is to attack everything the SNP does, rather than swallow their pride and support policies that are good, and question those that aren't. People might listen to them for once.


    3. I agree with that. I'm pretty sure that the opposition parties are seen as having nothing to offer except whinging.

      You look at Labour under Kezia and think.... if she were first minister, what would she stand for; what would her policies be, and in fact you don;t know. Becasue all she has ever done is carp about the SNP and tell lies about how many kids leave school without being able to read. (She might like to look at Labour's record on that!)

      You don;t win votes by criticising other people unless you have something better to do in their place... and if they have they certainly haven't mentioned it.

      The Tories are pretty much the same, and I haven't got a clue what the Liberals in Scotland stand for any more. Except obviously that the SNP are bad and giving poor Alistair a hard time.

  8. It's all a bit of a smoke screen to cover the fact that Scotland's other government (the one that controls the money) was not elected by Scottish votes.
    That is the real democratic deficit the unionists don't want to talk about.

    1. Also,of course,for unionists to claim that Scotland is a "one party state" completely contradicts their narrative that Scotland is not a state but a region of a state called the UK.
      Can't have it both ways.

    2. Ah... he's a Tory Lord. He can have it whichever way he wants....

      And yes... there was a 14% vote for the Tories in Scotland. Hows that for democracy?

  9. And anyway, its preferable to have a legislature packed with hereditary descendents of people long dead, believers in skypixies, party "donors" and reincarnated politicians removed by the voters.

    Any elected body is way more ligitimate than the House Of Lords could ever be.

    Saor Alba

    1. An ever growing number of lords too!

  10. I had a good laugh this morning whilst swallowing the first meal I am allowed,Hektor has to be fed first which is only right given that he is a Prince, but sort of listening to those two twats who make up Sky's observations on the papers, Eamonn Holmes is an absolute disgrace, why isn't he working for the Beeb.
    Well they were discussing the European Referendum and so it seems they are the abused wife, which I seem to think was our scenario. I can see us having a real good snigger at the machinations of Remain against Leave, then of course we have to decide who will win and hopefully vote the opposite.
    Then of course came onto the computer and found out why Mr McDonnell had changed his mind about supporting George Osborne's little charter, he wants to support his comrades in Scotland against the nasty SNP, are they idiots in Labour, ill informed or just idiots?

    1. Good question.

      No one really knows now what will happen. Some will vote for, some against, and some will abstain.

      The Tories must love this. With a tiny majority, this disunity is a life saviour to them.

      They are about as much good in opposition as an underwater hair dryer.

    2. Given the choice, I'd say idiots.

    3. I think they are probably just dim third raters who don't understand anything much. Jackie Baillie is exceptional in that I honestly can;t remember her ever telling the truth. She's delusional.

  11. There are numerous 'democratic' states where a government has remained in power for long periods of time. When the transition from that party to another party is peaceful, democratic and the people recognise the legitimacy of the election just passed, there is rarely a lot of trouble.

    Can I mention the fall of John Major? His party had ruled, atrociously, your mileage may vary, for 18 years. A one party state up and until it's demise.

    I recall removal vans, not revolution. This is not atypical.


    However, the following refers to the SNP.

    This "One Party State" acted like no other in history. The victors rioted, whilst the "One Party State" accepted the will of the people, and has said that, until that will alters, that things will remain as they are. We will keep a weather eye open for a change in a viewpoint, but we will try to work within the Westminster framework meantime, as that is the mandate they, the SNP, have been allowed by the electorate. Bastards acting democratically!

    I completely hate it when clapped out politicians tell me, after the electorate rejects them, and their frigging party then elevates (? there has to be a more realistic word "retires" perhaps ?) them to the ermine benches that they are worth listening to.

    My only new thought about conservatives is that, as the nuclear bombs fall down on my bit of this planet, they will whisper in my ear:

    "But, apart from this, SHE, was right."

    Mad Men.


    Ruth Davidson straddling a tank, ffs.

    1. They seem to think that it is only right that they get their turn, no matter how incredibly poor quality they are.

      And yes, the unelected who seem to think that they were once great statesmen, even if they held the most junior possible position in the cabinet, are a real pain.

      Once aupon a time the PM and maybe the Foreign Sec got Earldoms when they retired. Scottish Secretaries and their like got an OBE or nothing.

      Still it's one way to get them to hold their tongues over stuff they MUST know about. I just wish they didn't think it made them experts. Most of them were out of touch with people before they became aristos. Now of course, they are plain gaga.

  12. tris,

    They seem to think that it is only right that they get their turn, no matter how incredibly poor quality they are.

    Too true.

    I would, perhaps, argue that we have had no 'one nation' politician since MacMillan. I think he did believe that. Everyone else since then has been divisive, one way or another, and has led to the breakdown.

    For breakdown it is.

    There is no way for SNP voters to go back, it is like a ratchet.

    A ratchet moves in one direction only. It tightens.


    Given a democratic state, we will win, not because we are a One Party State, but because it is inevitable.

    It would be so, if this was, in fact, a democracy.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. The only ways it can change is, I suppose, a bit like the English changed after 18 years of the Tories

      They voted Labour, but only because they were sick to death of the Tories, and Labour had promised to be the Tories by another name.

      Scottish Labour will have to steal the SNP's clothes, and they HATE them too much to do that.

  13. Umm are you lot on about Democracy or Majoritarianism/ocholocracy that is the question
    some would call it Tyranny

    A majority a majority my freedom for a majority

    1. That's an interesting queston. If you look at the settled will of the general public in the UK over, what, the last hundred years it looks like an individual suffering from bi-polar disorder.

      "a mental condition marked by alternating periods of elation and depression."

      Remember Thatchers' TINA?

      Well, at a political level there always was an alternative, at least in labelling, if not in content. Quite what there is to choose between Labour and the Tories isn't really very obvious to me any more. Y'know, manifesto-wise.

      I think this describes what I think has happened:

      “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

      Bloody Orwell, right again!

    2. Good answer, Douglas.